Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A haven of tranquility in the roar of the city

Do you like to live on a traffic infested rat-run of a street covered with ineffectual speed humps, and would you rather it was a tranquil, less polluted street that is only used by drivers coming to park where it permitted?

This haven of tranquility is Trinity Street, a short rat run between two major roads; the A3 (Borough High Street) and the A2 (Great Dover Street). See the map here.

Can you imagine how much this partial road closure, allowing cyclists to filter through, has increased the quality of life (and the price of the houses) since it was put in?

I  bet there were some residents who couldn't envisage these benefits and opposed plans for the closure because it would limit their options for driving in and out of their road thus adding a couple of minutes to some journeys.

Given there's a chance of this kind of opposition to partial road closures, a council is likely to have a default recommendation for less contentious but much less effective traffic calming measures, such as putting in speed cushions.

If you're in favour of a partial road closure in your street it's worthwhile checking out successful ones in similar situations and taking local sceptics to see them, and maybe talk to people who can describe the before and after.

It clearly is a boon for people on bikes too - ordinary people like this lady:

Mind you, for a period one barrier had been installed too close for comfort to the others to give a sensible gap to cycle through - below you can see where the post holes were now filled with tarmac. So kudos to Southwark Council for relocating the barrier . 


Paul M said...

Better for the gap to be too small to pass mounted on a motorbike than large enough to be passed mounted on a pedal bike - getting off and pushing a pushbike is alwys feasible while pushing a 850cc BMW is impractical.

Not my field of expertise, but is there a happy medium which ensures that *only* self-propelled wheeled vehicles such as bikes and prams can pass?

aaa said...

Good post Charlie.
Rat-run covered with ineffetual speed humps - you described my street exactly.

A further reason in favour of partial street closures is speed humps are very expensive (£2000 each installed).

Other arguments I have seen against is that emergency services may object and the 'rats' often find somewhere else to run. However, whole areas have been traffic-calmed successfully with road closures, such as the All Saints area in Merton, and I think they are doing something in Tooting around Tooting High St/Garratt Lane.

It would be handy if LCC or someone compiled a toolkit to enable local people to make the case and win the arguments for partial road closures.